The European Union and the Republic of Guinea maintain relations in the political, economic, trade and cooperation fields as well as the defence of human rights and democracy. Governed until 2020 by the Cotonou Agreement, these relations are now based on the new post-Cotonou Agreement signed in April 2021 with the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS, formerly the ACP Group of States) to which Guinea is a party.
The EU and Guinea engage in regular dialogue
Dialogue is conducted on a regular basis and focuses on defined objectives or any matter of common interest. The EU remains committed to working with Guinea to promote a stable and democratic political environment that contributes to regional peace and security. It follows with interest the country’s political progress and constantly reiterates that the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, good governance and human rights are essential elements for the creation of a favourable framework for private investment and sustainable economic development in Guinea.
Since 2015, the Guinean economy has been characterised by a supply shock from the growing mining sector (bauxite, gold, iron). With more than 18% of GDP coming from extractive activities (compared to 10% in 2010), the average annual real economic growth rate for 2015–2020 is 7%. Growth is estimated at 7% for 2020 (source: Article IV consultation of the IMF).
With a mainly informal economy (75%) and the primary sector being the largest provider of employment, the current allocation of factors of production limits productivity gains and the diversification of the economy for greater resilience. It also faces significant investment needs, particularly in the energy (hydraulic), agribusiness (agriculture and fishing), and secondary (construction, mining) sectors. Improving the business environment to make it more transparent and reliable and provide greater legal certainty is a prerequisite for promoting national and international private sector investment. Heavily dependent on the outside world for its imports, and in a context of rising international freight prices, border closures, and the monetisation of the budget deficit, inflation remains at 12.5% in 2020.
At the same time, Guinea's external position has stabilised in recent years with currency-generating exports thanks to the growth of its bauxite and gold exports. External debt is 26% of GDP and consists mainly of Non-Paris Club creditors.
The EU remains Guinea’s largest market and supplier and remains a major economic partner with a global approach favouring FDI for European companies, while being mindful of environmental issues.
In the area of trade, cooperation between Guinea and the EU will revolve mainly around the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) adopted with West Africa in July 2014 but not yet entered into force. Once in force, this agreement will serve a dual trade and development purpose. It should contribute to achieving the country’s objectives of accelerated growth and sustainable development.
To this end, the objective is to provide support to Guinea so that it can benefit from this trade agreement. Measures include:
- Providing support to promising sectors through the Guinea Competitiveness Support Programme: the REFILA project (Revival of the Pineapple Sector).
- The project for developing the Republic of Guinea's trade policy, which will enable it to adopt a new trade policy allowing it to use the various trade agreements it has signed, including the EPA.
- Strengthening the national SPS system and Guinea’s phytosanitary control and certification system through sanitary and phytosanitary programmes implemented by COLEACP [Liaison Committee for the Promotion of Tropical Fruits and Off-season Vegetables Exported from ACP States], with funding from the 11th EDF, as part of the indicative programme for intra-ACP cooperation (2014–2020) between the European Union and the ACP Group of States). This programme will have made it possible, among other things, to finalise the “mango” dossier approved by the EU. Local authorities and stakeholders have also benefited from capacity building.
Previously, the EUD also provided support for creating a more favourable environment for investment and private initiative through:
- Support for state reform and modernising the administration.
- Improving economic governance.
- The rehabilitation and development of basic economic infrastructure, in particular those which allow the opening up of regions with high economic potential.
Dialogue with civil society
Development policy and programmes are generally more effective when stakeholders engage with civil society; local communities then feel involved in national development policy. The experience of recent years has shown the fragility, internal divisions and politicisation of civil society organisations; a situation that prevents citizen oversight of public policies specific to them from being implemented.
The EU therefore aims to strengthen the role of civil society and encourages local non-governmental stakeholders (NGOs, trade unions, political foundations, private companies, universities and media) to play a more active social role.
This approach will take shape through the renewal of the Roadmap for EU-Guinean civil society relations for the period 2021–2024. It will include capacity building for Guinean CSOs, support for their internal cooperation and coordination and for the dialogue they need to engage in with national and local authorities. While CSOs will continue to benefit from special funds, the EU and its Member States will promote civil society’s engagement in the sectoral dialogue to be organised with national authorities, and in identifying priorities for their cooperation.
The European Union is the world's largest humanitarian aid donor, and the European Commission manages a quarter of the world’s institutional humanitarian aid, with a yearly budget of over EUR 800 million. This aid is made directly available to victims, regardless of their sex, gender, ethnic group, religion, nationality or political affiliation, through operational partners. These include around 160 European NGOs, United Nations humanitarian agencies and the Red Cross.
Within the Commission, operations are organised by the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). Guinea depends on the Regional Office for West Africa whose mandate is to provide services and expertise to improve the quality of the Commission’s humanitarian response in the region. This includes five main skills:
- Rapid response capacity.
- Operational support.
- Support in formulating humanitarian policies and strategies.
- Finance and administration.